Premature births may be linked to stress, new Alberta study suggests

A researcher at the University of Lethbridge says the cause of premature births could be linked back to stress in past generations This research could help understand Alberta’s pre-term birth rate, which is the highest in Canada.

Premature births may be linked to stress

Researchers subjected rats to stress late in pregnancy and observed their offspring. They found that the daughters of stressed rats had shorter pregnancies than the daughters of rats not subjected to stress, and that the grand-daughters of stressed rats also showed shorter pregnancies even if their mothers had not been stressed.

“I think if you understand the mechanisms of how this is being generated — the footprint of stress — we have a means of predicting the risk of pre-term birth in future generations and finding certain interventions,” said Gerlinde Metz, a professor of neuroscience and Alberta Heritage Foundation Medical Senior Scholar at the university and one of the researchers on the team.

Metz says stress can alter the genes, meaning mothers-to-be can pass the altered genes on to their babies and that’s why the future generations showed the effects of the original rat’s stress. The study looked at four generations of maternally-related rats.

It found the stressed rats and their offspring also gained less weight during pregnancy and had higher blood glucose levels. As well, their offspring were smaller and had delays in behavioural development, all effects which were amplified over successive generations.

Metz says the study could help provide clues to the causes of pre-term births in humans as well as help other researchers identify the predictors and possible interventions for the pre-term births.

Source; cbc news

Natural Ways To Reduce Stress During Pregnancy

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims that if a pregnant woman is exposed to stress, her placenta can alter the proteins and enzymes that help develop the brain of the baby. A research group from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine found that mice babies, especially males, had a heightened level of stress and that it could be linked to neurodevelopmental disorders.

This research is both daunting, yet informative. A pregnant woman may put a lot of stress on herself to eat right, sleep enough, exercise daily—all while keeping up with doctor visits and the changes in your body, emotions, and life. Since it’s very difficult to take a vacation for 9 months, here are some natural ways that I recommend to reduce stress

When my aunt was pregnant in Belgium, she was assigned a massage therapist for weeks before and after the birth after my cousin. I wish we had that here! Massage is a great way to de-stress and address all of those pregnancy aches and pains. You can also still your mind and meditate while the endorphins rush. Make sure to find a practitioner skilled in prenatal massage because there are certain areas and pressure points that should be avoided during pregnancy. And, hopefully the massage therapist can teach your partner some techniques to try at home

Yoga and Meditation
A 2009 study from a Minnesota nursing school supports the practice of yoga and mindfulness-based stress reduction for pregnant women. The study participants reported a reduction in stress and anxiety, especially if yoga and meditation were started early on in the pregnancy. Try signing up for a local prenatal yoga class. And, find the type of meditation that works for you – chant during yoga, listen to a Deepak Chopra on tape, or just close your eyes at the park.

Talk It Out
Whether with a therapist or your best friend, talking about your stress and needs can be very helpful. Whatever you call it (I call it “venting”), giving your inner tension an outlet is much healthier than holding it inside. Allow your fears (and joys) to be shared with others—you don’t need to be the one holding all of the burden. What do you need from your partner now? How can your mother be more helpful? Opening the lines of communication will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed—and see how much support others can offer you.

My research also found that holistic modalities like acupuncture (as well as massage, yoga, and mediation) all reduce the rate of medical interventions and complications associated with childbirth, especially when practiced during pregnancy. These are also great strategies to reduce your stress if you’re are trying to get pregnant. So, what are you waiting for? Book that massage today!

Source: Fit bump